Sunday, 31 May 2015

Traditional artisans in India and UTHHAN-Empowering artisans(Part 2)





I have already described in my earlier blog about the situation which pushed me to start UTHHAN-Empowering artisans for upgrading the existing artisan community.

UTHHAN is an initiative of GOLDEN ERA SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS AND CONSULTANCY PVT LTD along with GOLDEN ERA CONSUMER DURABLES PVT LTD, which are group companies of GOLDEN ERA ROYAL GROUP(GERG). The main reason for degradation of artisan community was the uneven distribution of profit by middlemen and distributors to the makers. UTHHAN is the first initiative in India, where the profit goes to the artisan,who creates the marvel. The rest of the profit is shared between the organisations who assist us to locate the underprivileged artisan families and GERG.

During the initial days, I have met so many political stalwarts, artisan organisations, artisan development board officials but, in vein, since there are no substantial kick bags involved in the project. UTHHAN will eliminate the role of middlemen and distributors and the products directly reaches the end users from artisans with out any hassles through our platform. I have faced ruthless questions from renowned artisan leaders and politicians about the transparency of the project and my personal benefits. Stalling is easier than starting for many of these. How can a common artisan fight this political apathy and government / bureaucratic nuances miseries out?.

I spend a reasonable sum of amount for this initiative with out which the concept can't be in lime light. During this period with the help of couple of good friends, I got a chance to exhibit myself about UTHHAN in an IAS officers club. My mind was overjoyed because of the very fact that some of these officers belong to the artisan community and the same concept can connect them better than any one.

I have given a presentation for 10 mins about UTHHAN and for my surprise one of the officer asked me like " Whether all these things can be done by you with honesty at this young age? I really doubt your skill set and capabilities ". I asked " What's your age sir? ". He quipped " 49 ". I asked him again " Can you tell me any initiative which you have propelled for the artisan community, whom you belongs to till now ? ". There was silence in the forum and he reacted to this, showcasing me as an arrogant youth with no respect towards elders. Truth is always bitter, but our younger generation should have the courage to question discriminations for a brighter tomorrow. He is in a better position than me to help his community which he has comfortably forgotten in the tide of time. Many of the celebrities in India, belong to this ever struggling artisan community. This is the irony.

I got an opportunity to give a speech about UTHHAN, where artisan leaders from across India had participated. It appeared to be a strong platform where, I can unite these people for a common cause. But the agenda and the parameters preferred by the leaders during the summit was disappointing and out dated. They wanted to pressurise Government for declaring Viswakarma Day as a national holiday and create a separate ministry for artisans.

 The meeting missed the following points
1) How can the artisan family survive ?
2) Why Government will obey you with out a proper organised structure ?
3) What's the benefit for poor artisan community by declaring Viswakarma day as a national holiday ?

In the summit, I stressed on these points rather than UTHHAN, since awareness was required for leaders rather than followers. I have been ignored by the leaders in the meet because of the bitter reality, I  exposed. But a section of the crowd interacted with me after the meet about UTHHAN and its implications.



PROCESS OF UTHHAN IN A GLANCE
1) Identifying the artisan family
2) Enrolment by filling up UTHHAN form
3) ID and address proof documents of the family
4) Generation of ARTISAN IDENTIFICATION NUMBER(AID,this is a unique code generated by
the system)
5) Artisan Product upload  and bank account opening of artisan
6) Order from customer
7) Packing and delivery from artisan locality to customer
8) Artisan share of profit directly to his UTHHAN bank accounts



UTHHAN concept was accepted with both hands by my father, Mr.Thamarakulam Ravi, who is running an organisation for traditional artisans across India, called Artisan Development Organisation, in which he holds the position of  NATIONAL PRESIDENT. The other people who stood with me were Ms.Soni Sahu (Creative head,UTHHAN and Director GERG), Mr.A K Mohana Krishnan (Central government counsel,High court of Karnataka), Mr.KCV Mane (Superintendent of police,Bangalore), Mrs.Roopamouli (State coordinator, UTHHAN, Karnataka)and my company employees. ADO has arranged many platforms for us across Kerala, to create an awareness about UTHHAN. We had started a toll free helpline number for artisans on 2012 which allows an artisan to directly contact us to discuss about his skill set and displaying his products on our platform.




UTHHAN will organise the artisans based on locality and ensure financial stability along with preservation of a culture. Artisans don't have to fight with government for their rights because of the self sustainability through UTHHAN. They will learn financial savings, compatibility and cohesiveness  because of the unity and strength. The younger artisan generation will not be reluctant to do artisan job any more because of job respect and healthy earnings. Once the project finds more families, we can start educational scholarships for artisan kids, group insurance schemes and housing schemes thereby empowering this community. Skill is our strength and UTHHAN explore the same for an upgraded living.


UTHHAN PROJECTIONS FOR NEXT 5 YEARS

1) Setting up industrial sheds for bulk manufacturing
2) UTHHAN outlets across major cities in India
3) 5000 families under the project
4) Educational scholarships,Life insurance and housing for at least 500 families
5) Setting up colleges for artisans with skill related courses

We are creating virtual UTHHAN STORE with www.gergstore.com (on line shopping initiative of GERG) in the upcoming days for maximum product exposure. We are also in the process of creating a vendor panel where UTHHAN coordinator in a particular area can upload the product photos directly and monitor the sales and revenue flow to artisan account effectively.



You can visit the following links for UTHHAN

Website - uthhan.gergstore.com
Events. -  https://www.facebook.com/uthhan.org/
Shopping - http://www.gergstore.com/1049-uthhan-store



I request all of you to be a part of this attempt to reincarnate our tradition and culture through our artisans, who are the pride of our nation.

And Finally as Henry Ford once said " Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal " .

So lets join hands for the best !!!!!!!


LEEMON RAVI

Note: You can email me all your valuable suggestions and feed back to leemon.r@gmail.com